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Bush hails Ford's common sense, quiet integrity

Bush hails Ford's common sense, quiet integrity

U.S. President George W. Bush hailed former President Gerald Ford on Tuesday night for using common sense and "quiet integrity" to restore Americans' confidence in the presidency after the Watergate scandal.
Vice President Dick Cheney, who was Ford's chief of staff, said his former boss became president after the "greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War" and gave the country the "strength, wisdom and good judgment" needed at that moment.
Bush, in a statement from his Texas ranch, where he is spending the week, said, "The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character and the honorable conduct of his administration."
Bush, whose father served as CIA director and a diplomat under Ford, expressed his personal condolences in a phone call with former first lady Betty Ford. He is scheduled to make a statement at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) Wednesday at his ranch.
The current president drew some of his top advisers from the ranks of the Ford presidency. In addition to Cheney, recently departed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld served in the same job for Ford.
Bush said Ford would forever be remembered for assuming the presidency "in an hour of national turmoil and division" and helping to reunite a nation divided by Richard Nixon's fall from power in 1974.
"With his quiet integrity, common sense and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency."
The vice president said Ford "led an honorable life that brought great credit to the United States of America. Throughout his career, as a naval officer, congressman, vice president and president, Gerald Ford embodied the best values of a great generation: decency, integrity and devotion to duty."
Cheney said that when Ford left office, "he had restored public trust in the presidency, and the nation once again looked to the future with confidence and faith."
Democrats and Republicans alike recalled Ford's kindness and willingness to work across party lines.
"President Ford was one of the kindest, most sincere elected officials whom I have known and with whom I have worked," said longtime Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V. "Although he and I were from different political parties, we often were able to find common ground and work together for our country."
White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten notified Bush about Ford's death shortly before 11 p.m. EST after getting the news from Ford's chief of staff.
Deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said funeral arrangements are being handled by Ford's family. The president is scheduled to return to Washington on Jan. 1, and will attend the funeral, Stanzel said.


Updated : 2021-05-13 11:01 GMT+08:00